I hate my neurologist’s medical assistant.
I’m sure in real life she’s a nice person who gives to charity or whatever, but that woman and I are going to come to blows one day, I’m sure of it.
First of all, she’s a short, twiggy little thing of a certain age who is convinced that because I’m not as old as she is, I can’t possibly have any “legitimate” age-related gripes. Now, look, I know that this is a sore spot for many older women, but if I mention that an injection is going in right around where this deep wrinkle is – as a point of reference only – and the neurologist agrees, it’s not quite appropriate to jump in with, “oh, you don’t have any wrinkles! Wait ‘til you get to be my age, then you’ll know what wrinkles are like.”
Um, I know my face, and that fold that wasn’t there ten years ago? It’s a wrinkle.
Also? And this is my more serious complaint – it really seems to bother and confuse her that I’m overweight and not about to die of a heart attack, like, right there in front of her. My heart is healthy, my blood pressure is low, my cholesterol is well within acceptable parameters. I’m strong and flexible (yoga FTW) and basically in very good shape, for the shape I’m in.
Yet every time she takes my blood pressure, it’s the same thing.
MA: Okay, that’s one… eighteen overrrrrrr… eighty.
HIM: That’s good.
ME: (glares at Husband)
ME: (mouths “I’ll tell you later”)
HIM: (whispers loudly) I didn’t catch that. What?
ME: (shakes head)
MA: Okay, let’s get your pulse.
ME: (deep breath)
MA: (furrows brow)
ME: (grinds teeth)
MA: (stares at watch for full minute, then hunts and pecks random numbers into computer before leaving)
HIM: What were you saying?
ME: You see her making those numbers up.
ME: Everywhere else they get my BP around 110 over 70, but she consistently gets higher, and usually much higher.
ME: Did you see what she put in for heart rate?
HIM: That’s not right.
ME: No, it’s not.
HIM: (sighs, settles in for longer rant)
This last time, though, she added a new level of weird to her offensiveness.
MA: (entering vitals) Okay, so you’re… what, 5’4”?
ME: Um, no.
ME: No. I’m not short.
MA: 5’4” isn’t short. I’m 5’4”
ME: So how do you not know that you’re short?
HIM: (stifles laugh)
MA: Well, what about my father?
ME: What about him? Has he not mentioned that you’re short?
MA: He’s 5 foot even.
ME: So he’s legally short.
MA: No – so to him I’m a giant.
ME: To an ant you’re a giant. To a human, you’re short. I can’t believe no one’s mentioned this.
HIM: (fails to stifle laughter)
MA: (finally looks at actual chart) So you’re… 5’9”?
ME: Thereabouts, yeah.
Now, that may have seemed petty, but do the math on your own body – go ahead and look up your own BMI using your weight, but deduct five inches from your height and see what happens. Go on, I’ll wait.
Yeah, it’s a big fucking deal, isn’t it?
And, because I know someone will complain that I was being mean to that awful woman by pointing out that she’s vertically challenged: her boss agreed with me.
ME: (squirming away from giant fucking needle in my skull)
NEURO: Lean back.
ME: I’m trying to escape, how are you not getting this?
HIM: (sighs, pries my freshly sharpened claws out of his flesh)*
NEURO: (laughing) You can’t escape, MA is right outside the door!
ME: I’m pretty sure I could take her
NEURO: I don’t know, she’s pretty scrappy.
ME: Pfft, she didn’t even know she’s short.
HIM: (not even bothering to hide laughter)
NEURO: How could she not have noticed? She’s what, 5’5”?
NEURO: That’s short.
ME: Did you hear about her father? Five foot even. That’s legally short, isn’t it?**
NEURO: (jabs second needle into my actual skull) I think so, yeah.
HIM: (laughs through blood loss)
* On my first visit to get these injections, the neurologist pointed out that Husband could move his chair over to face mine; we asked why he would want to do that and Neuro told us that some people find it helps to have someone holding their hand while he jams a giant needle into their occipital nerve not once, but twice. Husband now holds my talons in his strong, capable hands, and we all laugh at him when he complains about how much this hurts him.
** I was later corrected by my good friend, who is 5’ and ¾” that the threshold for what I meant by “legally short” is a bit lower than that. Also, several of my good friends are vertically challenged, so you can climb right off your apple crates, people who think I was only hating on this woman for being short. I just think she’s got a Napoleon complex going on, and it’s making her unpleasant in a professional context.